Did you know that it is believed that over 80% of women in the US suffer from some level of hormonal imbalance? If you believe that you’re experiencing the symptoms of hormone imbalance, I truly hope this knowledge will help you. As you’ve probably experienced, hormone imbalance is oftentimes hard to pinpoint, since symptoms of hormonal dysregulation vary and cannot be simply related to any one gland or organ.
That is why determining the major causes of hormone imbalance is so evasive and why most individuals are confused about the information they find out there – especially when it comes to treating hormone imbalance naturally.
Why Does The Body Get Out of Balance?
Indeed, you can help regulate your body with diet and herbs by bringing in the energy and nutrition that the body needs to self-regulate and heal. From a naturopathic perspective, the body is an ecosystem of interrelated functions that has a high level of intelligence and a desire for self-preservation.
Essentially, it will do what it can to stay healthy and alive, even if that means compensating by depleting nutrients and energy from areas that are less vital to its immediate survival. This most often occurs when the body is too acidic and requires alkaline chemistry to hydrate and regenerate. Since bones and tissues contain electrolytes (energy) and especially calcium needed to buffer acids, the body will leach them from tissues and bones.
But this doesn’t mean you should go out and buy calcium supplements. It is most likely that your body cannot assimilate and utilize the type of calcium you consume, since natural electrolytes like calcium would be sufficient as a means of alkalization. In fact, dairy and calcium supplements do not contain the type of calcium that the body needs, which is biodynamic and found in whole, live foods.
Artificial compounds found in most vitamin supplements don’t include specific enzymes and nutrients required for absorption and assimilation, and are therefore not able to “connect” with the body as can naturally occurring compounds found in foods and mother nature (such as direct sunshine, which stimulates the production of vitamin D).
Overall, when the body gets out of balance, it is usually caused by a physical, emotional, mental, or environmental catalyst that prompts the body to become more acidic and causes inflammation in cells and tissues.
Your health symptoms are simply the byproducts of the body’s compensation process or a sign that it is unable to regulate and cope with the level of inflammation that it is experiencing. And the antidote to chronic inflammation levels is always the same: introduce more alkaline chemistry into your body and lower the chemical/acidic/toxic intake.
Acidity builds up in the body due to diet, lifestyle (which could even be something as harmless-seeming as conventional products that contain artificial chemicals), electromagnetic frequency, environmental toxins and pollution, and one’s coping ability to navigate the demands of modern life (stress).
Why Does Hormone Imbalance in Women Occur?
Hormone production and regulation is the primary job of the endocrine system. However, other organs relate to the endocrine system by helping to clean up excess hormones, such as the liver. Hormones are chemical messengers that are excreted into the blood and are carried to organs and tissues to deliver their proper “function and structure” messages to tissues and organs.
If the endocrine system is not working properly, the messages are not delivered to the areas of the body that require them for executing their proper tasks. In a way, without a proper symphony conductor, the orchestra – or the body – gets confused and doesn’t perform its tasks correctly.
Since the endocrine system works holistically and interdependently, if even one of the glands functions less optimally, the rest of the glands would take a hit, and like the telephone game, certain messages would not be adequately made, processed, or assimilated by the body. The end result would be the wrong execution of proper tasks and the resultant symptoms that many women experience as hormonal imbalance.
Undoubtedly, many cases of glandular weakness have a basis in genetics, but their ultimate expression is facilitated by your diet/lifestyle, environment, and experiences. For example, if you inherited a weaker pituitary gland – the main gland responsible for coordinating all the other glands – then the signals and hormones from the pituitary would not reach the other glands to tell them what to do and how to do it. And if the glands aren’t getting those proper messages, then the rest of the body is surely not.
By helping the endocrine system balance its function by making it stronger and healthier, you can improve or eliminate (depending on the severity of your glandular weakness and the measures you take) hormonal imbalance and its many pervasive symptoms.
And now, let’s talk about how the liver is involved in this whole performance show! When the glands make too much of a certain hormone, a healthy liver can process extra hormones found in the blood, preventing them from affecting the body adversely.
However, if both the glands and the liver are sluggish, the liver may not be able to eliminate excess hormones, most particularly estrogen (female sex hormone), and they would circulate in the blood, causing hormonal dominance and other symptoms, which may lead to mood disorders, fibroids, endometriosis, and other conditions.
In fact, in vedic knowledge, the glands correspond to the main energy vortexes in the body, or chakras, which regulate the pranic/energetic flow of life and whose health ensures that we have the energy and vitality to lead long and healthy lives.
Like batteries, their function is to keep us recharged by managing processes and their energy expenditures. You can think of them as the perfect managers! Indeed, having healthy endocrine glands ensures that our cellular energy stays high, that our body is oxygenated, that our organs work properly, and that we can operate on a higher frequency of consciousness.
Major Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
- Hormonal headaches
- Weight gain, especially in the thighs, belly, and buttocks
- Muscle aches, tenderness, and weakness (you find it difficult to move the body)
- Abnormal hair growth (either too much hair in certain parts of the body, too little, or hair is falling out)
- Enormous sensitivity to hot and cold
- Anxiety, nervousness, mood swings, and irritability
- Puffy face, feet, ankles, and extremities
- Increased hunger or/and thirst
- Heart arrhythmia
- Too much or too little sweating
- Constipation or too many bowel movements (especially loose bowels)
- Irregular, heavy, and/or very painful menstrual cycles
- Low sex drive
- Skin problems
- Sleep problems and insomnia
- Chronic acne (even in the 30s and 40s)
- Dehydration and skin dryness
- Regular brand fog and/or forgetfulness
- Chronic digestive issues, such as bloating, fatigue, stomach pain, and diarrhea
- Ongoing fatigue
- Vaginal dryness or irritation
- Breast fibroids and changes in shape
- Cold hands and feet
- PMS and premenstrual irritability
- Teeth grinding
- Inability to cope with stress
- Weak bones
3 Main Causes of Hormone Imbalance
1. Depletion of vital energy through stress, diet, lifestyle, and no rest (burnout)
When we run on empty and we do not replenish our bodies with energetic foods and sources, we deplete our reserves very easily. Both stress and a conventional diet are highly inflammatory, robbing our bodies of electrolytes that are necessary for proper cellular and organ function. The endocrine glands, in particular, utilize electrolytes to upcharge their energy production and facilitate proper messages with hormones throughout the body.
Lack of rest likewise prevents the body from recharging and healing. When we run on empty and don’t rest, we put a further strain on the body that then must turn to compensation to keep itself running. But, this compensation comes at a cost.
The body uses non-vital tissues and bones to leach vital nutrition and electrolytes (particularly calcium). It’s an intelligent effort to keep itself alive when it doesn’t have any other outside interventions.
Over time, the degenerated parts of the body will become quite diseased, instigating the onset of disease symptoms. Other than bones and other nonessential tissues, inflammation congregates in the weakest areas of the body, heightening the probability of developing illness in the genetically weakest areas of the body.
2. Few vital electrolytes in the diet
Food is a vital way in which you can bring more energy into your body, since the body is quintessentially a chemistry processor. It takes in chemistry from its environment and alchemizes it through digestion, assimilation, and absorption. Overall, it utilizes raw material (chemistry) and converts it into fuel (energy) that nourishes the cells and the body’s most vital processes.
When we don’t provide the body with the chemistry it needs, all systems will take a hit and then the symptoms we experience will simply be the effect of the body’s attempt to regulate and compensate for the lack of vital chemistry it needs to hydrate, heal, and regenerate – or vital chemistry.
On the other hand, when we eat foods that contain hydrating chemistry and electrolytes, we introduce electricity into our cells, giving them the proper charge of nutrition they need.
Raw foods are the most electric out of all food we can consume. They are full of enzymes and vital alkaline chemistry, making them the most healing foods in nature. Although we can process and assimilate cooked foods better if our guts are compromised, to heal, we need to increase the energy levels of our body over time. The best food that can do so with the least digestive requirements and energy loss is fruit!
Cooked foods lose a lot of their vital electrolytes and enzymes, denaturing their potency. Therefore, it is important to start to detox the body with steamed veggies and fruits, and then, when your gut is stronger and more ready to handle raw fiber and chemistry, you can graduate to introducing more raw veggies and salads into your diet.
Another great way to introduce minerals and alkaline chemistry into the body is through liquids, such as pure, mountain water, or at least water that has been purified through reverse osmosis. Other drinks that are very rich in electrolytes are pressed, organic juices, lemon water, and organic coconut water.
3. Exposure to chemicals (medications, endocrine disruptors, and other chemical additives)
One of the primary ways that you can disrupt the body’s own systems and processes is through chemical exposure and the consumption of synthetic medicine. Pollution and car exhaust are full of heavy metals and chemical additives, and if not cleansed properly in the body, can be stored in the liver and other fatty tissues and organs, such as the brain.
Consumption of conventional foods and products that are grown with pesticides and herbicides can further acidify the body and cause endocrine system disruption. Plastics, especially when heated, are major endocrine disruptors and can weaken the function of endocrine glands over time.
The same goes for cooking with (and storing food inside) aluminum or non-stick Teflon pans, which leach heavy metals and toxic chemicals into our kitchens and foods. If you want to be on the safe side when preparing meals, use glass, ceramic, or stainless steel cookware.
As stated, water purity and quality are of high importance when it comes to endocrine system health. If you drink tap water, you are exposing your body to several heavy metals, chemicals, medications (such as birth control), and pathogens. In fact, fluoride in water and other foods/cosmetics is known to calcify the pineal gland and disrupt the function of the body over time.
Hormonal imbalance effects also occur because of birth control pills. Since glands are designed to coordinate and manage hormone production and send function-related messages to organs, if new hormones – be they hormone disruptors or chemical hormones – are introduced into the body artificially, the body will go into full-blown confusion and disruption, causing hormonal dysregulation and chronic acidosis over time.
Even the lesser-known impact of chemicals in everyday cosmetic and personal items, laundry detergents, and cleaning agents accrue over time in the liver, making it less healthy and able to perform its functions. And since the skin is a porous, breathing, elimination organ that detoxifies toxins through sweat and absorbs anything placed on it into the blood system that circulates throughout the body, the purity of everything we place on our bodies matters significantly. If you wouldn’t eat it, you shouldn’t put it on your skin!
Can Hormonal Imbalance Cause Anxiety and Depression?
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Hormonal imbalance can definitely cause anxiety and depression for a few reasons. When the adrenal glands make less or more sex hormones than necessary, the body will be dominant in one hormone and dysregulated, leading to feelings of anxiety.
Likewise, when the thyroid function is sluggish, the gland is unable to produce enough neurotransmitters that regulate the nervous system and mood stabilization. The end result can be extreme anxiety and panic attacks.
An underactive pituitary and thyroid function are known to cause both anxiety and depression, since they regulate the function, metabolism, and feel-good hormone production.
The high or low levels of estrogen and progesterone, both produced by the adrenal glands, can also cause anxiety, as progesterone offsets estrogen dominance. If there is too much estrogen and not enough progesterone, the greater amount of estrogen flowing through the blood could cause liver damage, lead to uterine problems and cysts, and breast cancer.
Since balanced hormones help regulate optimal brain function, creating states of calmness, clarity, and alertness, estrogen dominance can cause the opposite. When the brain receives incoherent messages due to hormonal imbalance, its chemical soup is changed, causing anxiety and even depression.
The health of the endocrine glands is likewise correlated with the incidence of depression. If the thyroid is dysregulated for any reason, the parathyroid, which is in charge of calcium utilization, will also not work properly.
Electrolytes, especially calcium, are key components of alkaline chemistry that promote health, longevity, energy, optimism, and thirst for life, and if they are not absorbed and assimilated into the body properly, the endocrine glands will not have enough “electricity” to keep all the parts and systems running properly. This lack of life force or “prana” not only impacts the body physiologically but also psychologically.
How to Treat Hormone Imbalance Naturally
Although the causes of hormone imbalance are varied, the solution to balance is always the same (apply as needed according to your own lifestyle and needs). The following are a few essential hormone-balancing habits:
- Consume adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha, maca, rhodiola, astragalus, and shatavari (nourishing and less harsh to use).
- Use other potent endocrine-strengthening herbs (cleansing and to be used in smaller quantities) such as tulsi, eleuthero, rosehips, kelp, schisandra berry, chaste tree berry/vitex, nettle, rosemary, horsetail, red clover, comfrey, and licorice (to name just a few).
- Consume an alkaline diet of mostly electrolyte-rich foods. Eat simply and don’t eat until you’re very full.
- Eliminate foods and products that are acidic and inflammatory to the body.
- Try juicing, as juicing ensures you get essential nutrients into your system quickly without the energy loss that occurs when the body digests fiber.
- Get plenty of sunshine, try earthing (to synchronize with the Earth’s natural Schumann frequency), and spend time breathing deeply in nature frequently.
- Rest and ensure good quality of sleep every night (go to sleep by 10 pm), since the body’s regeneration cycle is the most active between 10 pm-2 am.
- Practice lymphatic and energy-flow body exercises, such as yoga, Qi Gong, and brisk walking in nature.
- Don’t smoke, nor drink coffee or alcohol (which are very detrimental to the endocrine and nervous systems)
- Laugh often, connect with others authentically and deeply, nurture yourself and your needs, and find meaning in your life.
- Breathe fully and intentionally to oxygenate your body and bring pranic flow and energy where it is needed most.
Best Foods for Hormonal Imbalance
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The following foods not only hydrate and stimulate the circulation of nutrients to tissues as well as waste to elimination organs, but they are so full of electricity, that they will provide your body with the essential chemistry it needs to rebalance and heal even the most difficult-to-heal parts of the body – namely the endocrine system and the nervous system.
- Tropical fruits
- Grapes (especially red grapes)
- Bitter greens
- Coconut and coconut water
- Seaweed and sea vegetables
- Citrus fruit
- Sprouts and microgreens, such as alfalfa
- Cilantro, parsley, and dill
- Apples and pears
- Ginger and turmeric
The body is a biological chemistry processor that utilizes energy (electricity from its environment) as its essential fuel. When its processes are down due to genetic influences and environmental and dietary exacerbation, the remedy is always to bring more energy in through alkaline foods and energy-unblocking activities, such as acupuncture, yoga, and Qi gong, just to name a few.
If you suffer from hormonal imbalance, most likely, one or more of your glands are not functioning properly. But, correcting the imbalance is a twofold process – it entails a change in diet and lifestyle to include a predominantly alkaline diet and the elimination of foods, habits, and chemical exposure that could be acidifying your body in the first place.
You can also take a tally of everything in your home or immediate surroundings that you feel could be the causes of hormonal imbalance and other health issues and find a way to replace these products or habits with a natural or nurturing alternative.